How To Dive Into A Workout Based On Your Intensity Level

Alain Saint-Dic
Alain Saint-Dic, Health and Fitness Editor at 20something, brings over nine years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Though he studied pre-law, his love for the human body, it's adaptive ability and unlocking the largely untapped potential of human beings led him to pursue a passionate career in health, fitness, and athletics.

The prospect of making a lifestyle change involving fitness, can be daunting. Whether you’re switching fitness modalities or you’re starting fresh, the idea of doing something new can be joyful and stressful at the same time. We’re creatures of habit, so naturally forming new ones can require painstaking measures. While some of us like to tiptoe our way to learning new fitness habits, others are not opposed to diving into the deep end of the pool then learning how to swim.

Balls to Walls

This is your “I sucked at high school P.E., I’ve never seen the inside of a gym, but today I’m joining crossfit” approach. Professional opinion would tell you that this is not the safest way to jumpstart your fitness, but as with most things, fitness varies by the individual. I have a friend who, in an effort to change his life, got up off his couch and ran an ultra-marathon. He is now one of the most avid runners that I know and a health and fitness advocate. Ways to fully immerse yourself in a lifestyle change:

  • Do everything all at once: join a gym, change your diet and incorporate fitness into every aspect of your life.
  • Join Crossfit: if you want all around high intensity, high volume fitness, this is a sure route.
  • Sign up for a 5k: This will force you to train for a competition which stretches you past your comfort zone. A 5k is a nice distance that most people can complete even without training. If you really want to push yourself, go for a 10k or half marathon.
  • Get an intense personal trainer: the key word here is intense — someone who will basically have you crawling out of your sessions.


The Tip Toe method

This is your “slow and steady wins the race” approach.The goal is to slowly change your lifestyle, by changing parts at a time. This is the professionally recommended changing pattern, because it will produce progressive adaptation in the body while minimizing injury. You have the opportunity to get comfortable with the various aspects of health and fitness, at your own pace, until you feel comfortable enough to push to a higher intensity levels.

Ways to progressively implement lifestyle change:

  • Don’t change too many things at once: join a gym or change your diet instead of doing both at the same time. Then you can embrace the other once you feel comfortable.
  • Try flexible dieting: instead of cutting out the terrible things in one shot, start to minimize your intake of certain bad foods. At some point, you’ll come full circle.
  • Use online resources, fitness enthusiasts, or trainers to help you develop a program that suits your workout pace: it should be at a relative intensity that produces results, but not at a level that causes you to hate working out.

The hope is that you start of tip toeing and eventually you’ll be working out at a full sprint. Even though your workout is progressive, you should still push yourself every step of the way.

Deciding to take the first step to a healthier life is a different process for everyone. Examine the different approaches to figure out if you’re a balls to walls type of person or if you’re better suited to tip toeing your way into a healthier life. Either way, take the step!

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